Sunday, February 26, 2017

Life on the Road


We're getting close to Mumbai - 2 days of riding to go.....
Thought I'd share some pics of the roadside life we see.

Sugar cane juice - we watched the process, then got on our bikes before they insisted we try some

 We ran into these 2 combines on 2-3 different days.  They were brand new and getting delivered to 
new owners.

 This woman came upon us and started blessing us and wishing us well - she was lovely

 Sanjar from Mandu - massage therapist, tour guide, owns a chai shop, barber shop (by appointment only for his services), and petrol when you need it!

 Sharing a "custard apple" with a new friend when I asked what it was - yummy

Nomadic sheep herders - on their way to Pushkar with a camel train that the woman were managing

 Garlic sorting - I thought I'd give it a try.  The box has a screen and it shakes off the outer leaves and the smaller cloves fall through the grate.

 Multiple groups of women we encounter - some are road workers, some carrying goods...

 Rich, Rick and Fritz at a coke stop

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Tailor and the Forts of Rajasthan

Hmmm - I think I arrived at the posh hotel in Delhi, had a shower and went into the shops while wandering around the property.....
I may have a shopping problem and admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.....  Only it seems to be getting worse!
  • I have already purchased and sent items home x2!
  • Every rest day, I think, OK no spending today
  • We were on our way to the City Palace in Udaipur, wandering the streets, just minding our own business, when we passed a tailor...  I still need a pair of long pants, so in I go with Dennis. Yes, they can make it today and we can pick it up this evening.  
  • Well I have a wedding in August to go to - now I have an outfit for the wedding!  
  • Dennis got a lovely silk shirt made that fits him perfectly!
  • Oh and a pair of long pants, which was the original intention.
We've visited a number of forts, palaces, and stayed in some really cool forts/palaces converted into hotels.

 Fort at Kishangarh (1649), between Jaipur and Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Hotel Fort Kherjarla (1611), Jodhpur, Rajasthan

The giant gates have huge 8"ish spikes about 10 feet off the ground to prevent the neighbours elephants ramming down the doors and overtaking the fort.  

Dhamli Fort - a heritage hotel in the tiny village of Pali in Rajasthan.  The owner is a nephew of the Raj and his business partner is Margaret, from Toronto.  This place was off the beaten path and so beautiful.  They cater to adventure travellers.

 Inder made us a dinner of wild boer - delicious!

Neighbourhood kids who took my bike for a spin

Kumbhalgarh Safari Resort, Rajasthan sort of like safari tents, but with solid walls.

Hotel Udai Bilas Palace (mid-1800's), Dungarpur, Rajasthan - The ultimate residence/hotel of the Prince (who is currently a member of the Parliament).  He has created a museum of family and area artefacts, a car museum, an American style pub, and an infinity pool!!  He came to welcome us in the pub.  There is also the original fort off this property, that was built in the 12th century, but un inhabited and not maintained.  Unfortunately, I missed the tour to the original palace...

 The private temple on the private island

 The car museum, which leads to the Pub at the end of the garage

 The dining room - yes, that is a pool as the centre piece (not for swimming though)

 The reception/wi-fi zone

Central courtyard
Rajasthan had some beautiful properties that welcomed us with open arms.  The staff were always friendly and helpful.  The most impressive was Dungarpur, but the most unusual was the Dhamli Fort which seemed to be the middle of nowhere.

From Rajasthan, we entered the state of Madhya Pradesh and are now in government owned hotels. The countryside has greened up considerably and the crops have changed to wheat, corn and cotton. There are tractors, but we are still seeing harvesting by hand.

Breakfast and Samosas


We are on  a rest day at Ajanta Caves in the state of Maharashtra.

Dennis, Morris, our 2 bus drivers (Kusirom and Sarapjeet) and I went for breakfast at a chai shop just down from where we are staying this morning. They were just opening and making the day's offerings - Poorha, Pakora, Samosas and of course, chai.
Each employee had his specialty and I got to assist with the samosas!!

First you need energy to make the samosas, so we all had some freshly made poorha! (Rice flakes, spices, toasted peanuts, fresh coriander)

 The dough is made and divided into portions to be rolled out

A small rolling pin and a specific shape to aim for (elliptical cut in half)

The filling - a sauce + potatoes, onions, chilli's, etc mixed up 

 I was better at rolling out the dough than creating the cone to add the filling to, but with guidance I'd probably make 4 - 5 in a day! (vs. 1-2 minutes for each)

Stuffing added


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Like Sand Through the Hourglass - A Day in My Life


6:00 - alarm goes off
6:30 - bags are packed, face washed, sunscreen on, trip sheet in place
6:45 - bags to van, fill water bottles, pump tires, apply bike bag, hand in room key
7:00 - breakfast (fruit - bananas, papaya (yuck), oranges, eggs, bread!, poorha (rice flakes with seasoning - yum!)
7:30 - on the road
  • the routines in the villages - sweep and arrange the dirt for the day; pick up garbage and bring to edge of town; cows, goats, pigs, chickens, water buffalo pulling carts all getting ready to head to their grazing areas
  • the best part - seeing all the kids on the way to school!!  they are so happy to say hello, how are you, Namaste, waving from the side of the road, back of a motorbike, or from the school bus
  • Morris stops and gets them all stirred up - they are so attracted to him and he's such a positive influence on everyone
  • stop for photos along the way
  • Pee stop! (side of the road with some cover)
  • Chai stop (most important) --> where we become the spectacle
  • motorbikes riding close beside us (a bit unnerving) - "1 selfie please"; they don't usually go away until you stop and oblige them
11:00 'ish - Just past halfway point of the day = Lunch!

  • Kusirom (our shy bus driver) and either Baba (bike mechanic) or Vikas (MD) wave us to the side of the road for a lunch in the shade
  • Helmets and gloves off; wash hands
  • Feast on salad, fresh fruit (watermelon is my favourite), sandwiches, nuts, hickory sticks and often a surprise - samosas, parotha (bread), noodles w veggies, pasta, eggs
11:45'ish - back on the bikes for the back half of the day

13:00 - 15:00 arrive at hotel for the night (depends on the days distance)
  • Cristiano hands out room keys, puts up a white board with info to know - usually includes wi-fi password; dinner timing; riders meeting
  • Wi-fi usually only works at reception and not in rooms
  • Shower and wash the dirt of the day off - aahhhh
  • Wash cycling kit in the bucket
  • Email, blog, read, Facebook
17:45 - Riders meeting (next days ride and complete trip sheet, take photo of white board)

18:00 or 19:00 - Dinner!!  Indian food - so good

20:00 - read and lights out

6:00 - Repeat....

Thursday, February 16, 2017



I remember my Mom making bread on Saturday mornings - waking up to the smell of baking bread was like heaven.  I also have good memories of being at my Grandparents in Newfoundland and the bread baked at sea level was twice as big as it was in the mountains (where we lived).  As a child, my mom and I did a lot of baking together and I always had my little miniature versions of baking trays. I even took up bread baking when I lived in New Hampshire b/c in the small town where I lived you couldn't ever find artisan breads.  I'd have a weekly phone conversation with my mom in regard to - what to do to fix it so it tasted as good as hers!  Too much flour, dough needs to be a bit more elastically, etc.

We always have lovely fresh baked hot Indian breads at our meals in the mornings and evenings here in India.  It's so good.  I wonder if it will change as we move farther south away from Rajasthan? The toast is a bit of a crap shoot as it's not always toasted evenly.  An issue the world over with hotel breakfasts as far as I'm concerned.

So far I've experienced:


  • served with most meals: made with white flour in the tandoor oven - my favourite!
  • we had a demo with the tandoor oven when we were at the organic farm in Dausa
  • plain Naan, butter Naan, butter and garlic Naan
  • a prerequisite to eat with butter chicken (and most other dishes)


  • made with wheat flour.  I think my former Punjabi clients would not be pleased that these aren't perfectly round.


  • "puffy bread"  very light and hollow on the inside


  • appy served pre-meal at most restaurants for the evening meal
  • my least favourite (has various spices, but it always tastes a bit weird (?fishy?) to me.....

Paratha - roti with a filling (Chipatti?)

India continues to fill all of my senses on a daily basis....

Ciao, Cindy

Monday, February 13, 2017

2 Weeks In....


Observations -
  • When one person gets sick, it takes less than a week for everyone to fall victim (I hope that's it for the trip)
  • Tour Director is very organized and I don't know if he actually sleeps or not, but I appreciate his willingness to always assist us - thanks Cristiano

  • When TDA says one bag on the bus, it doesn't include a carry-on, like the airplane - notes for next trip...
  • Sadness that we lost one rider, due to injury on day 2 of trip.  He's on the mend and awaiting his trip home.
  • Not sure this will result in any form of weight loss - I'm loving the food.  I do believe most of our hotels are going light out the chiles
  • Why is our bread so boring??? (future blog topic)
  • Call to Prayer comes even before the roosters start to crow!
  • The stairs - steep, uneven, narrow, may or may not have a railing; if I can survive the bike and slippery shower floors the stairs just might do me in!
  • Noted swimming rules at one hotel - swimmers under age 5 must be supervised. 
  • Staff at one of the forts we've visited

  • Favourite lunch snack - kinda like Hickory Sticks with a kick

  • PUPPIES - everywhere!  Not too often we see female dogs that aren't prepared to be nursing puppies.  The dogs are pretty timid overall.  We've had a couple chase us on the road, but mostly they run away.

  • Chai stops with Dennis and Morris are always fun and attract a crowd.  We usually have our chai in a small paper cup.  It's very tasty and boiling forever.  Haven't been sick (oh oh, shouldn't have said it out loud....)
Making a deep fried potato and chile mixture, wrapped in dough and then deep fried

Mixing the "milk cake" for dessert.  We had this at lunch one day, but it was from a restaurant, not a roadside stall.  It's simply milk and sugar that is boiled until it thickens on a hot fire, stirring constantly.